Munchkin Coroner sees statue for first time: Meinhardt Raabe (right) stands
next to a replica of himself in costume of the Munchkin Coroner in the
created by artist Tim Wolak. Raabe, now 91 appeared in the MGM 1939 classic
“The Wizard of Oz.” Both Wolak and Raabe will be participating exclusively
at Munchkinland Market Days at the Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop & Oz Fantasy
Museum Sept. 15-17. Visitors will be able to be pictured with the statues
created by Wolak in the “Picture Yourself in Oz” exhibit there. (Tribune
photo by Alexandra Newman)
Meinhardt Raabe, the now-famous Munchkin Coroner opposite Judy Garland in
MGM’s 1939 classic film “The Wizard of Oz,” will be available Sept. 15-17
exclusively at Munchkinland Market Days in Chesterton.
“We are proud to have Meinhardt Raabe again this year as our special
Celebrity Guest of all three days of Munchkinland Market Days,” said Marilyn
Zengler, proprietor of The Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop.
Munchkinland Market Days is produced by and held on the grounds of The
Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop and Oz Fantasy Museum, two miles south of
Raabe will autograph his book “Memories of a Munchkin - A Illustrated Walk
Down the Yellow Brick Road” for fans all three days of the event at The
Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop. The book was published last year when Raabe
thrilled many by posing for photos with adults and children alike and he
promises to do the same this year. All are welcome to bring cameras to take
a photo with The Coroner.
Raabe’s book is a 304-page hardcover book from Back Stage Books with 250
color and 50 black and white illustrations. The book is co-authored by Raabe
and Daniel Kinske, Lt. USN. The forward is by Mickey Rooney. In this deluxe,
lavishly illustrated hardcover edition, one of the last surviving cast
members of “The Wizard of Oz” tells his life story and shares his memories
of making that Hollywood classic. He also tells his own inspiring story
including how he learned at the age of 17 that people like him were called
midgets; how he served in World War II as a Civil Air Pilot with the cockpit
specially designed to suit his size; his as a teacher and spokesman for
Oscar Meyer before and after Oz.
Born into a family of German dairy farmers, Raabe grew up in Farmington,
Wis. In 1938 he heard that MGM was going to make a movie with Judy Garland
and “they wanted as many little people as they could find.” Through an
agent, he was cast in the film. The book also is an account as a Munchkin on
the set: watching as the glorious Munchkinland was built, putting up with
long days of rehearsal, being costumed by legendary MGM designer Adrian,
witnessing various mishaps during filming and more. It includes 50
commissioned illustrations by renowned artists, a complete collection of
first-run posters and movie cards.
Raabe will be joined by co-author Kinske. Other celebrities that will be
here include Munchkin Karl Slover and Garland’s stand-in Caren Marsh-Doll
In addition to autograph sessions, Munchkinland Market Days features Auntie
Em’s Pie Booth, children’s games sponsored by Burns Harbor Lions Club,
“Picture Yourself in Oz” (having your photo taken in a life-size Oz
tableau), a caricature artist, art and craft booths, face painting and Oz
The Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop & Oz Fantasy Museum is located at 209 E.
Yellow Brick Road, (at the Indiana Toll Road and SR 49). For more
information call 926-4048.